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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

12-branch independent signs with OnTheMarket as portal returns to court

East Midlands estate and lettings agency Jackson Grundy has signed up to OnTheMarket.

The firm, with its Northampton headquarters, has 10 sales offices and two lettings branches. 

The agency’s managing director David Jackson says: “In light of frequent and significant price rises from one portal, and a question mark over the future direction of another, we felt now was the right time to give our support to OnTheMarket.

“We’ve been impressed with the recent growth in traction and the vigour shown in growing the membership base. Jackson Grundy looks forward to playing a part in the progression of the agent-backed portal, and we are confident our clients will greatly benefit from this new relationship.”

OTM announced on November 1 that some 11,500 agent offices were in contract with the portal, although recent trading statements have emphasised that a significant proportion of these are enjoying short term introductory trial offers and the portal has“a view to converting these to full tariff contracts when the value of its offering has been demonstrated.”

Yesterday we reported on OTM’s chief executive Ian Springett’s comments at the Relation Agent Network conference, which included the statement: “If we’re able to get the backing of the industry - of all the people currently using the site but not paying for it - if they all decided to pay, then we’d become self-funding.”

Meanwhile today sees the beginning of a three day Court of Appeal hearing in which Connells-owned agency Gascoigne Halman is challenging the ruling that cleared Agents Mutual - formerly the parent company of OnTheMarket - of anti-competitive activity with its one other portal rule, which existed until early this year. 

In July 2017 the Competition Appeals Tribunal judges, after a lengthy consideration following the tribunal itself, decided that OnTheMarket’s ‘one other portal only’ rule was not anti-competitive.

The tribunal had been hearing a claim by OTM’s parent company, Agents’ Mutual, that Connells-owned agency Gascoigne Halman was in breach of contract. Since that time AM has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of OnTheMarket plc.

In 2017, after the CAT verdict was announced, it was agreed in court that Gascoigne Halman must pay £1,243,248 as an “interim amount” pending a definitive decision on costs.

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